The Cruel Selfishness of Rebuilding Notre Dame?

Sticking the Corners | 4/18/2019 | Staff
anikianiki (Posted by) Level 3
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In the aftermath of the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, several wealthy donors have stepped forward to fund a sizable portion of the rebuilding project. While this generosity is inspiring for some and consoling for others, it has also spurred harsh criticism: If you really loved Jesus, you’d spend that money on the poor. How can anyone in good conscience devote so much wealth to such a vain pursuit?

It is a valid question, and one I’d like to look at on three levels: The national, the local, and the personal.

Stone - Ruin

What to do with an Enormous Stone Ruin?

The cathedral is owned by the French government, an inheritance it did not choose,* but did choose to keep. For whatever reason, France’s elected and appointed leaders have decided that, at least until now, the cathedral has been worth maintaining. Go figure. But now they stand at a crossroads. Perhaps the whole thing should be scrapped. A little demolition work and you could put in high rise condominiums and maybe an office park. Nice.

Idea - Restoration - Rub - Government - Restoration

Weirdly, that’s not a very popular idea among the French. Restoration it will be. Here’s the rub: If the French government wants to fund a restoration, French taxpayers have to foot the bill. The wealthy donors who have stepped forward could have opted to sit back and find out what their share of the national bill would be. Instead, their donation is lowering the tax bill for other citizens, and freeing the government to allocate more of its spending to programs like health care, education, and housing for the poor.

To my mind, if the rebuilding of the cathedral is a given, choosing to take some of the cost off the shoulders of the poor and middle class is a worthwhile pursuit.

Donors - Tax

Essentially these major donors have chosen to tax...
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